Friday, March 1, 2013

The Power of a Single Word

A few weeks ago I received a text message from my son living in Boston thanking me for a fun weekend  spent together as a family.  Warmly reminiscing about the time we had together, I quickly responded to his message by telling him that the pleasure of their visit was certainly ours.  Upon pushing the send button, I realized that my predictive text had inserted the word “plague” for the word pleasure.  Oh how much of a difference one single word can make in the messages we convey to those we love!  A message of gratitude and love quickly changed to something much more sinister.  In certain situations something of this nature could not be passed off for the humorous situation that it was.

The power of words is somewhat magical in the way they can uplift and edify or tear down.  We use words every day to encourage, buoy up the down-trodden, praise, appreciate, and comfort those in our lives.  A single word of encouragement can turn around situations; can inspire individuals to change the course of their very lives.  The Savior used the magic of single words to uplift those closest to Him.  His friend John he called “beloved”.  Can you imagine how your attitude, your outlook and even your very behavior might be elevated if the Savior called you “beloved?” 

Randall Jones, a BYU Professor addressed a crowd at BYU stating, ”Watch your language!  It is a tool far more powerful than you can possibly imagine.  Think of the good you can accomplish by using it in the way that the Lord has intended.  Like many things that our Father in Heaven has blessed us with, language can be used as a force to bring about much righteousness, to bring us blessings, and to bless the lives of those around us.  But it can also be used as a tool of destruction.  It can edify and uplift as well as vilify and destroy. “

Language is like music; we rejoice in beauty,

        range, and quality in both, and we are demeaned

                      by the repetition of a few sour notes.

                                            ~Spencer W. Kimball


Elder Charles A. Didier of the Church of Jesus Christ said that, “Language is divine.  Some may know this but do not realize its implications in their daily family life.  Love at home starts with a loving language.  This need is so important that, without loving words, some become mentally unbalanced, others emotionally disturbed, and some may even die.  No society can survive after its family life has deteriorated, and this deterioration has always started with one word.”

Often we are careless in the selection of the words that we use in conversation, in discussion and to describe one another.  We blurt them out, sometimes, without thinking through the power they may have on others.  Much like our cell phone, we have the ability to proofread and substitute, so to speak, before sending if we will only use the filters that we possess.  The difference is that we have the intelligence and humanity to insert more appropriate words for the situation.   May we strive to leave people that we associate with better than we found them.  It is within our power, if we proof before we “send.”

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